Bass wants Courage probe
Thursday 25 May 1995
The Office of Fair Trading is expected to deliver its recommendation next month to Michael Heseltine, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who will decide whether a monopolies probe will take place.
Sir Ian Prosser, chairman of Bass, said the push for an investigation was not sour grapes that the deal would result in S&N displacing his company as the leading force in brewing, but because of a greater need for the Government to clarify competition policy.
He is adamant that the Courage deal will give S&N a 31 per cent share of the UK beer market, which compares with Bass's 23 per cent. S&N, however, claims its share will be 25 per cent - right on the monopoly benchmark.
"We believe the S&N deal should be referred because we need to know what the rules are; that is, whether someone should be able to have a 31 per cent market share," said Sir Ian.
Investment Column, page 41
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